Keeping pets safe
during a sweltering summer

July 31, 2018

Across the nation, daytime temperatures in the 80s, 90s, and even the 100s, are making day-to-day life sweaty and stifling. But while hot summer days can feel miserable for humans, they can be downright dangerous for our pets. Are you taking steps to keep your animal friends safe during the hottest months of the year?

It’s usually easy to recognize the signs of heat distress in ourselves. After all, our bodies let us know when we’re dehydrated or overheated. But our pets can’t exactly tell us when they’re uncomfortable or in distress. So it’s important to proactively take steps to keep animals safe during the summer—and to always keep an eye out for signs of trouble.

Here are a few tips to keep your furry (or fur-less) friend healthy and happy from now until the temperatures cool down:

  • Always give them plenty of fresh, clean water. On hot days, drop a few ice cubes in for your cat or dog.
  • When outdoors, make sure your pets have access to shade. For dogs and cats with short hair, slather on sunscreen if they’re going to be outside for a while. (This may feel crazy at first, but it’s important!)
  • Remember, if you’re uncomfortable outside, your pet probably is too. Keep them inside on very hot and muggy days.
  • Look for signs of distress, including excessive panting, difficulty breathing, weakness and vomiting. If you suspect trouble, call your vet.
  • Be mindful of hot sidewalks, which can burn the pads of your pet’s feet.

Finally, if you’re planning on transporting your pet, remember that temperature is always a factor—especially during the summer. At American Airlines Cargo, we take the safety and comfort of all pets very seriously, so we follow a strict animal transport policy based on the temperature of each flight’s departure, layover and arrival locations:

  • Warm-blooded animals: Can only be transported when ground temperatures are between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This applies to origin, connection and destination cities. If the temperature is between 20 and 44 degrees Fahrenheit, we require a "Letter of Acclimation" signed and dated by a licensed veterinarian in order to transport your pet.
  • Cold-blooded animals: Must be transported in a way that meets IATA Live Animal Regulations, which may include using heat or cold packs.

For full details on transporting your pet with American, visit our Animals page.

As fellow animal lovers, we want to ensure that every pet is happy and healthy, whether they are hanging out on their shady porch, going for a long walk or getting ready to take a flight across the country. No matter how you spend these sweltering days, we hope you and your animal friends have a safe and healthy summer!

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